Sent off some Zippos to be repaired today. Had to mail them, and since the package was heavier than 13 ounces or whatever the anti-bomb law says, I went to the Post Office. The clerk did not print out a sticker with a price on it and slap it on the envelope; he used about ten stamps of varying denomination, and since the envelope wasn't that big the stamps went around my name, like I was ten years old and sending a letter to Santa with one-cent stamps. He offered package tracking, which I accepted.

"You guys think of everything!" I said.

"Everything a private entity thought of first," he said. "But, we do it . . . poorly."

I didn't quite know what to say about that.


If you’ve delved deep - and one cannot delve otherwise, but deeply - into the Ephemeratorium section, you might have seen MISSING: a collection of haunting ads placed in old magazines to find lost people. Now, these weren’t ads people placed in old magazines, retroactively; that would be unwise and practically difficult. By the time anyone noticed, everyone would be dead. So let me say that these were not old magazines at the time. Are we clear? Good. Sorry about that.

I have a new batch from 1934. I think this takes the prize for “Lost Causes.”

Don’t you wish you knew what happened? Such a mystery. People wandered off to go out West and vanished in the trackless plains.

Except, they didn’t. From one of the millions of genealogy pages on the Internet, this one devoted to Whipples:

I've been able to trace my family back to a "Divine Albert Whipple" who was known as "Grandpa Jack" on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He gave an interview to Dave Strain in the Rapid City Journal on May 4th of 1940. I don't know how accurate the information is. He states that he ran away from home when he was seven and made it down to Texas where he drove cattle up into South Dakota. He gave his birthday at May 14, 1850 in Carasagas County New York. That puts him in the same age range as the Devine Whipple on the website. I looked in New York and there is no Carasagas County, but the Cattaraugus County would sound pretty close to a seven year old boy. Some of that could fit with the trip David took with Devine and Scenith out "west" in 1860.

I think that sets a rather high bar for the rest of these.

Breaks your heart:

A Gladys Armstrong in Crane TX died in 1969; the name Fleeda is not entirely uncommon, but of course last names are swallowed up in marrage.

Maybe he’s just not that into you, Babe:

Maybe he got a load of Dottie and Vi and forgot all about Babe:

To be a frantic parent and have to rely on a column in the back of a pulp magazine - well, damn your eyes, sir, for making your mother cry.

This one takes a while to unfold, and may have given Elon LeClaire Burns a jolt:

The impression made on the civic records of Brawley by the Barfells appears to be nonexistent. But so it was for most.

Therein hangs a tale. Protected him from what? Scandal? Financial ruin? Having to answer for "Avatar"?

Pete was working for Kid Richard’s Show, but now he’s in the wind:

And so Inez pines and dreams and waits.

Finally, a few words make you feel the weight of a stone on your heart from a distance of 80 years.

Twelve. Missing. Ran away? Abducted? Just . . . gone. Valentine's day must have been torture for the rest of their lives.

Why was his last name different?

This week in Nonstop Pumpkinization ofThings, Traders Joe edition, we have:

C'mon. Is there a Light Dark roast? No? Is there a Dark Dark Roast? That notwithstanding, the label has everything I do not want in coffee. It's as concise a summation of things that I never want in my coffee as I will ever see.



The last ep ended with an explosire in the mines. How did he survive the explosion? Because he did. Because he’s BATMAN and the script is on his side. They dust off and take one of the crooks captive.

Back upstairs, Bruce and Dick waltz into the cabin and ask what's up? and Linda is upset because they went down to the creek and “fell asleep,” unlike those two people of identical build, age, and vocal timbre who came to the mine and saved her.

Elswhere, Head Japanese Evil Guy doesn’t like that the radium-mine caper was foiled, but the cave-in was a small price to pay for the elimination of Batman. Hah! He’s hard at work on his incredible Batcave with a captive.

No, that’s not right.

No, that’s not right.

Ah. This.

They leave the room while he’s tied up, but the ropes were loose. They intended him to get out so he could give them some information. You think: the only way that could work is if he contacts his boss and tells them he’s been captured by Batman, so they’d better shut down the secret lair at 321 Kafe Street, and do it fast!” But in order for that to happen, the Batcave would have to have a phone with an outside line, right?


But Batman has a special view screen that shows what number he’s dialing. Handy for all the times you bring in a criminal and let him escape his bonds so he’ll find the phone.

He calls the boss, and Bruce answers; the crook says “I’ll leave the line open so you can trace the call and come and get me.”

Yeah, I’m sure they’re up for that. Let's go rescue our interchangeable chum who got himself caught, and go up against the fearsome Batman! Turns out the number belongs to the Sphinx Club, which explains the title of the episode.

Behold, the glamorous night-spot favored by all the swank types:

Well, Bruce gets in, but finds himself braced by the thugs, who, like the audience, are wondering what the hell is going on here.

I’m being followed by a boom shadow; boom shadow boom shadow:

Just as things look tense, Robin breaks the lightbulb and deploys the famous “Ruining the Element of Surprise” beam:

Everyone heads down to the docks to fight, because the moonlight’s pretty strong tonight and it’s easy to see who you’re punching:

Robin follows the first rule of getting away from the people trying to kill you with guns: present a slow, broad target, and never go under when over is possible:

Well, there’s a four-on-one fistfight with lots of boxes; you need boxes to fall over. Or to demonstrate your acrobatic form:

As usual, Batman loses the fight; he loses every fistfight. So they pump him full of lead? No, that would be simple and direct and fool-proof. Take an axe to the rope that holds up the gangplank. That’s the ticket.


Don't miss next week's exciting episode: Flying Spies of Batman!


Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then! And don't miss the restaurant update.


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